Q: #17. What is the difference between a ceremonial law and a moral law?
A: Ceremonial laws were given by God to Israel, and they pointed forward
prophetically to Jesus Christ. Most of these laws made a distinction between
what was clean and unclean (with many of them having practical benefits as
well). In addition, they showed the holiness of God, and were a way to show
honor and respect to Him. These laws were connected with the Old Covenant, and
were fulfilled through Jesus death and resurrection. In Jesus, we are now
under a New Covenant, given to the "church," and we are made pure, clean, and
sanctified through Him. Therefore, ceremonial laws have passed, and no longer
need to be kept.
Let me list a few examples of ceremonial laws given to Israel in the Old
Testament that no longer apply today.
Men were to be circumcised (Lev 12:3)(Gen 17:10-14).
They could not eat or touch pigs (Lev 11:7-8)(Deut 14:8).
They could not eat the fat or blood of animals (Lev 7:22-27)(Lev 3:17)
They could not touch any dead person (Num 19:13,16)(Num 31:19)(Num 5:2).
Women were unclean during their menstrual cycles (Lev 15:19)(Lev 12:2,5).
They could not wear clothing made of linen and wool (not of two different
materials as some might say) or sow a field with two kinds of seed (Lev 19:19)
Priests could not have a defect (Lev 21:16-23).
Moral laws were given by God and will never pass away, must never be
broken, and apply to everyone. The Ten Commandments (with the exception of the
4th commandment about the Sabbath Day) are all examples of moral laws. These
laws are based on God's unchanging nature and character. The Bible tells us in
(Rom 2:14-15) that we all instinctively know the difference between what is
right and wrong, because it is written on our hearts. For instance, we know in
our conscience that it is wrong to murder, steal, commit adultery, etc... This
gives moral laws a clear distinction from ceremonial laws, which man would not
have known were wrong if God had not specifically stated that they needed to be
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